The Minister for Communications Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte TD has announced the publication of the Gas Regulation Bill 2013, which was approved by Government at its most recent meeting.
The Bill provides for the restructuring of Bord Gáis Éireann (BGÉ) by establishing a gas networks subsidiary company which will remain in State ownership. The Bill will also facilitate the sale of BGÉ’s energy’s business, part of the Government’s State assets disposal programme.
Making the announcement, Minister Rabbitte said “I am pleased that the Government has approved my legislative proposals to underpin the sale of BGE’s energy business and to also establish a gas networks subsidiary, consistent with EU requirements, which will facilitate the continued State ownership of the strategically important gas network infrastructure. I will be introducing the Bill early in the autumn session and I look forward to early enactment by the Oireachtas”.
The Government agreed the shape and scale of the asset disposal programme earlier this year. It will see the sale of state assets up to a value of €3 bn based on the guiding principles that there will be no fire sales. It includes the sale of: Bord Gais Eireann’s Energy business, but not BGE’s gas transmission or distribution systems or the two gas interconnectors, which will remain in State ownership; and some of ESB’s non-strategic power generation capacity.
Half of the proceeds of the sale will be available to fund employment enhancing projects of a commercial nature. The other half will fund additional lending into Ireland, for example by the EIB, in support of further investment in job-creating initiatives.